Whitewashing of African American Culture Exposed in Song of Solomon

Powerful Essays
Whitewashing of African American Culture Exposed in Song of Solomon

White culture would rather keep the African American culture at a distance and shape it into what the white culture believes it should be rather than accept the enrichment offered by the African American culture. This may be because of the white culture's fear of anything and anyone obviously different in appearance. However, it is not enough for the dominant culture to separate itself from the African American culture, it has to shape and mold that culture into the stereotype projected upon the minority culture. African American culture is shaped by the dominant/ white culture, among other things, through the white culture's use of fear within the minority group, the bestowing or withholding of innovations and wealth, and controlling the mobility of the African American.

The white dominant culture uses fear to shape and control people and cultures different from them. In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, the fear evoked by the white, dominant culture comes from the thought of being lynched and beaten by any white person who might take offence at the presence or actions of an African American. While this is not an obvious, overlaying theme in the novel, it is present nonetheless in the existence of the Seven Days as the Black answer to the lynchings and murders of African Americans by whites, as Guitar said, "'when a Negro child, Negro woman, or Negro man is killed by whites and nothing is done about it by their law and their courts, this society selects a similar victim at random, and they execute him or her in a similar manner it they can' (154)." This fear of lynching or physical pain kept African Americans in the limited roles and geogra...

... middle of paper ...


Bjork, Patrick Bryce. The Novels of Toni Morrison: The Search for Self and Place Within the Community. New York: P. Lang, 1996.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Views: Toni Morrison. New York: Chelsea House Publishing, 1990.

Ellis, Kate. "Text and Undertext: Myth and Politics in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon." LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory. 6.1-2 (1995): 35-45.

Furhman, Jan. Toni Morrison's Fiction. South Carolina: U of South Carolina P, 1996.

Middleton, David. Toni Morrison's Fiction: Contemporary Criticism. New York: Garland, 1997.

Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon. New York: The Penguin Group, 1977.

Peterson, Nancy J. Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.

Rice, Herbert William. Toni Morrison and the American Tradition: A Rhetorical Reading. New York: P. Lang, 1996.
Get Access